Mayo Clinic to host social media-packed week

If you plan on attending the Social Media Summit hosted by Mayo Clinic next week get ready to experience your Twitter feed “in real life,” as one speaker puts it.

On Oct. 17 the Mayo Clinic will kick off the Social Media Summit, produced in collaboration with Ragan Communication. It begins with four pre-conference workshops and continues with a three-track conference made up of 35 speakers that will conclude on Oct. 19.

[See also: Mayo Clinic makes strides in social media]

If you haven’t registered for the summit, which is currently expecting almost 375 attendees, more than was projected according to Lee Aase, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, don’t despair you can still do so here.

[See also: Mayo launches social media center]

Aase, who says the attendees’ numbers reflect an "exciting level of interest,” is one of the keynote speakers. He says he will be making some “interesting announcements around new campaigns that we are launching that I think people will not want to miss.”

Some highlights of the summit will include a keynote about how social networking tools can facilitate research around rare diseases, and a session about physician involvement by Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, a member of the medical staff at Seattle Children’s Hospital and author of the hospital’s pediatric health blog, Seattle Mama Doc, and the closing keynote will be given by Dave de Bronkart, known on the Internet as "e-Patient Dave" and a leading spokesman for the e-patient movement.

“This is an exciting conference, Mayo is the leading hospital doing social media now. Their center for social media  is one of a kind,” said Ed Bennett, who will be speaking Tuesday, Oct. 18, on how social media has changed healthcare communications. Bennett manages Web operations at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and maintains a site called Found in Cache – a list of hospitals using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and blogs to communicate.

Bennett will share the latest trends he is seeing from his site on hospital adoption. But what he thinks attendees will find the most interesting is looking at UMMC’s experience over the past two years from gaining access to using Facebook (it was previously banned at the hospital until Jan. 1 of this year), to using social media around patient support, to its viral power around a PR event.


Personally he says he is most looking forward to the summit as an opportunity to “network with people in the healthcare industry that are using these tools.”

Networking is also key to Howard Luks, MD, who says he is looking forward to the summit because he sees it as a “real-life Twitter feed” – an opportunity to engage and collaborate with his Twitter friends – in person.